Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feds finding it harder and harder to combat escalating presence of Mexican drug cartels in New York


Federal officers escort accused drug trafficker and two other alleged drug cartel members in Mexico City in November.
Federal officers escort accused drug trafficker and two other alleged drug cartel members in Mexico City in November.
 
New York feds have more than doubled the time spent breaking up the growing network between local gangs and Mexican drug cartels.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents went from spending 13,472 hours in 2009 to more than 30,000 hours last year looking into street criminals-turned-lackeys of Mexican drug rings, officials said.
ICE also added three agents in the past few years to fight the drug gangs' escalating presence.
The shift in manpower and time was based on intelligence showing local gangs' illicit activities had evolved into more sophisticated and businesslike enterprises.
ICE agents also have seen a rise in dirty money and weapons confiscated in the New York area.
Last year, the feds seized more than $35 million and 57 firearms, a record number in New York, according to ICE figures.
"We spent these hours investigating violent, transnational street gang members who are now working closely with sophisticated drug-trafficking organizations," said James Hayes, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in New York.
"We see more and more a correlation between Mexican drug organizations and gangs here in New York," Hayes added.
"New York is a big market for drugs. Mexican cartels want to increase their presence here."
For decades, New York was a Colombian drug playground. But when federal agents caught on to their Caribbean corridor, Colombian drug cartels had to rethink smuggling routes and enlisted their Mexican counterparts, who had access to porous border towns, officials said.
Mexican kingpins established roots in the city by recruiting local gangs - like MS 13 and the Latin Kings - with the promise of hefty paydays, feds say.
"Mexican cartels went from being relatively small players to playing a much larger role in the transportation of drugs into the country," said Michael Sanders of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Some former drug gang members said the money pushes many idle youth into working for gangs hired by Mexican cartels.
"These kids have no future. The promise of money seems like a good way out, and next thing you know you're involved in a dangerous drug world," said Frank Hernandez, 53, of the Bronx, who spent several years in prison for selling drugs.
Paco, a former gang member who won't use his real name for fear of rival drug gangs, said New York's appetite for drugs kept him hooked.
"It's hard to stay clean and away from the gangs and the easy money," Paco said.
"The drugs come from Mexico, and we sell them here. It never ends."
 


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